Hart Memorial Trophy—Most
Valuable Player to His Team
Every year the National Hockey League
(NHL) invites its elite to an awards gala to celebrate accomplishments and present awards to players for their outstanding skills and contributions to their teams. While each award brings with it a special recognition, all players aspire to the Hart Memorial Trophy.
The list of past inductees to the Hart looks like a who’s who of hockey history. Eddie Shore, Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Jacques Plante, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Dominik Hasek
are players who have won the award, and are considered
the greatest ever
to play the game. The Hart is a sought after prize, if for no other reason than to be in the company of such greatness.
The trophy is presented to the player judged to be the most valuable player to his team in the National Hockey League during the regular season. Voting is conducted by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, which is made up of sportswriters and broadcasters in each of the
30 NHL cities.
Initially presented to the National Hockey League by Dr. David Hart in 1923, the first winner of this prestigious award was Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators, at the conclusion of the 1923-24 season. Dr. Hart was the father of Cecil Hart, the much lauded coach and manager of the Montreal Canadiens. Cecil Hart coached the Canadiens between 1926-27 and 1938-39, winning back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1930 and 1931.
The original trophy was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1960. The NHL then presented the Hart Memorial Trophy as a replacement.
The Hart trophy made its home in Edmonton for
eight successive years when the most winningest player in history, Wayne Gretzky, collected
eight of his league record 9 Harts between 1980 and 1987. The only other Edmonton Oiler to win the Hart was Mark Messier following the
team's 1990 cup win.
The Leading winners of the Hart Memorial Trophy are Wayne Gretzky (9), Gordie Howe (6)
and Eddie Shore (4).